You pass them in the halls, see their faces on Zoom calls, and exchange emails. You know their job title and department, and might even know their extension by heart. But do you truly know who you’re working with? Get to know our Corporate Counsel, Guido Gabriele!
Who are you?
I was born and raised on Long Island in New York. I went to Chaminade High School and, like many Long Islanders, went to Hofstra for college. After that, I went to St. John’s for law school. I got married in 2014 and my wife and I currently live in Astoria with our son and our daughter.
In terms of my lawyer story, I’ve been at it for 15 years. I started as a prosecutor, doing general prosecution for a few years. I gradually moved over to financial and white-collar crime. And from there, I started working on computer and internet crimes. Have you ever seen the show “To Catch A Predator”? I did a lot of work with that stuff. It was fulfilling work, but it wore on me as you can imagine. I got into general litigation after that, and from there, began working in-house. I absolutely love it. Ask any lawyer, working in-house is truly the “promised land”. It’s where you want to eventually be. Trust me, it’s better to help steer the ship, rather than deal with shipwrecks.
Would you rather wear clothes that are 2x too small or 2x too big for the rest of your life?
You’d have to think that the only possible choice is too big. But what’s the actual stipulation here? Two times too big in relation to what? I normally buy relaxed jeans, so is it two times bigger than that? And I can’t get these tailored, correct? I’d go bigger that way I don’t walk around looking like a human sausage for the rest of my life. I’m sorry I asked too many follow-up questions there. But hey, that’s my job… to ruin everyone’s time. I kid, I kid.
Growing up, who were your biggest inspirations / role models?
My dad has always been my personal and professional inspiration. He was a hard worker, extremely ethical, an exceptional colleague, and super smart. He taught me things about how to be a lawyer that I’m still using 15 years later. One thing he always used to tell me is, “Remember to touch every page and put in the hours.” Every single time I follow his advice, I get a great result and it validates his words. It just motivates me more and more to follow his examples and advice because the guy knew exactly what he was talking about. He passed away in 2014 and I still run into lawyers who say, “Oh, I know your dad. I had a case with him 10, 20 years ago.” He was so admired and respected.
There’s also a well-known attorney by the name of Brendan Sullivan, who was involved in the Iran-Contra hearings. He did such a good job in advocacy that I licensed this clip of some of his words to teach new, young lawyers (including Jordan King, our Associate Corporate Counsel). I absolutely love that guy. His professionalism and complete understanding of the law during those hearings are what made him shine. He proved that even when you have no formal role as a lawyer, you can still be an advocate. You can still edge your way in and be a lawyer and use your knowledge and talents to your advantage even when the odds or the circumstances are up against you. I actually reached out to him and told him how much his work meant to me and he told me to let him know any time I was in Washington, D.C. so we could grab some lunch. The guy is the absolute best! (Here’s the clip Guido was referring to. It’s great stuff: https://youtu.be/l8qSNcJNsrY.)
If you could live in the world of one television show, what would it be and why?
That’s a good question. Easy answer though: Star Trek. I know there are different variations of Star Trek with the original shows, movies, reboots, and all that. You know they have an animated series too now, right? It’s good stuff. But yeah, Star Trek would be the best world to live in because it’s really the opposite of everything the world actually is. The whole show is based on optimism. Everything is about discovering new people and their worlds. It’s a post-scarcity economic time. They value science, people are hopeful, and the whole point is to do the right thing. There’s a very specific optimistic thread that runs through that I wish the world was. Also – it’s in the future. Teleportation, spaceships, and whatnot. All that is really cool stuff.
What appealed to you about a legal career and was it what you always want to do?
My father was the first member of his family to ever go above high school. Instead of stopping at college, he went all the way to law school and became a lawyer! Growing up, he always encouraged us all to be lawyers because you can use it in any profession. He used to say, “You can flip burgers if you want, just make sure to get a law degree first!” And he was right! Going to law school really does help you to learn to think in a certain way that can help you across any industry or career. While I was in school, I did mock trials where you compete against other schools in certain cases. I used to travel across the country going up against the best and the brightest from some of the top universities. I vividly remember competing in a mock trial competition in Georgetown – I ended up winning that competition, but the best part was beating the Columbia University team after their law school rejected me a few years before. It’s a career that fits me perfectly.
Do you want to know what’s bad about being a lawyer? You just can’t turn it off. But the thing is, you get better results in everything you do because of it. Sometimes I don’t want to be like this. I’d like for things to be simple and easy and for me not to care as much, but I can’t. It’s a thing you can’t turn off. I’m on legal autopilot forever.
If you could choose a nickname and have people call you it with complete seriousness no matter how ridiculous, what nickname would you want?
My entire youth, people could not believe my name was Guido growing up. They usually assume that Gabriele is my first name – I had one guy recently on a call “Can I call you Gabby?” Then I turned my camera on. But yeah, as you might have noticed, my name isn’t very common, especially in this day and age. I’m assuming you’re familiar with Jersey Shore, right? Yeah, I’m not that type of guido. And I went to Hofstra on Long Island, so I was around plenty of those guys there. So I don’t know about having a cool nickname, but I think it’d really be cool to have people call me by my real name unironically – and without a Jersey Shore connotation. I mean, you can just imagine the situations I’ve been in when going out with friends growing up and having one of my friends yelling my name across the bar.
If you could only eat the same breakfast, the same lunch (different than breakfast), and the same dinner (different than lunch) every day, what three meals would you choose?
I don’t care about anything but pizza. And, burgers of course. To be honest, I do a lot of cardio workouts just so I can eat pizza and burgers. Especially if you’re living in New York City. It’s such a treat. My wife and I actually did a food tour of all the best pizzas in New York City. I can confidently say that it was one of the best days of just traveling around the city and eating the best pizza ever. I eat like a 6-year-old anyways and I’m fine with it. I’m 41 and I feel just fine. So as long as I have pizza and burgers, I’m pretty content.
How important is it to have a Corporate Counsel in the staffing industry?
Everyone should have a lawyer, but this industry in particular (on the contract/temp side at the very least) it’s an absolute necessity. Our service is not just the people we find, part of it is taking the burden of the complexities of employment off of our clients. Employing people is hard. Employing people across multiple states is very hard. There are around 1800 total jurisdictions (Federal, State, Local, County, etc.) in the USA alone, many of which have their own employment rules. Sometimes they don’t conflict at all, but there are plenty of times when they conflict a lot, but have to be in compliance with all of them. Dealing with clients, candidates, etc. it’s as much of a compliance industry as it is a recruiting industry.
To navigate that much compliance, it’s extremely important to have your own legal team. Because we’re dealing with such a diverse set of people (industries, cultures, laws, etc.), you can’t use the same process over and over. Are you familiar with Vornado, the fan company? All they do is make three different types of fans. That’s their bread and butter, and they’ve been successful at it for years. All they have to do is make those fans right. Over here, we deal with new stuff every single day. I went from dealing with a very specific type of law to an in-house role where there are new questions and situations to tackle. Every day is a challenge with something new, but it’s exciting intricate stuff and I love working in-house. Have you ever heard of the show “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”? There’s a song called “Don’t be a lawyer” and everything about it is 100% correct.
If you could choose one element to control, what element would you choose?
Do you mean more like an “Avatar: The Last Airbender” or “Captain Planet” type of thing? Actually, they’re kind of similar now that I think of it. Either way, if we’re talking about controlling an element that way, then I’ll go with water. I just feel like it would be the most useful.
What are your hopes and goals for the company in 2022?
It would be great if things were boring for just a little while. That was a joke, but not really. My hopes and goals are to establish our Legal Department as a place for the rest of the TESG team to find guidance and support in addition to helping with compliance and legal issues. You don’t want to be the type of lawyer or Legal Dept. where people are afraid to come to you because your answers aren’t what they’re going to want to hear. You want to be the lawyer for your company that provides guidance and support through the good and bad. So having our department be an indispensable resource for counsel— and not just the legal stuff, but being a true counsel and support source—that’s my goal.
A dance circle breaks out a party. What song has to come on for you to get in the middle and bust out some moves?
I will dance, but I’m not going to dance on my own because of a song. The most I can do is a kind of shuffle type of thing and move my shoulders. I’m much more of a metalhead, to be honest. I’ve been in mosh pits and stuff like that (not in a while). Actually the last concert I think I went to was “Future Islands” with my wife back in 2018. I guess the answer is that I’ll dance to a song if it’s a song my wife wants to dance to. I’ll go with that one and join her out there. You’ll never find me saying, “Ohhhh that’s my jam!” I’m fun, but far too introverted for that.